“Basketball is my passion; I love it. But my family and friends mean everything to me. That’s what’s important.” Lebron James
In a quick-paced game of speed and athleticism, every player is familiar with the stresses and sensationalized media coverage that the bright lights of a professional sport bring.
Lebron James’ quote speaks to a softer, less-covered part of the basketball game – the ability to step away from the characters created on the court and tend to the things that matter most in life, like friends, family, and community.
Players are more than just the sum of their actions and scores on the board; they are people too.
In today’s age of social media and round-the-clock sports coverage, it can be easy to overlook this truth and ‘buy into’ false images that cater to the ego that the media builds for players.
Being a parent, a husband, a son, an uncle, a teacher, a student, even a good Samaritan, can all be cast to the wayside in favor of big endorsement deals, relentless corporate shilling, and the at times immoral temptations that only fame and money can conjure.
Today’s basketball mindset can be changed to accommodate Lebron James’ words. The mental game of basketball doesn’t have to be tied to the lasting image of macho dominance seen on the court or the sensationalized lifestyles off the court.
Professional basketball players have been touted for their athletic abilities, basketball mental toughness, fiercely competitive mentalities, as well as their flamboyant and camera-ready personalities.
They have also had their fair share of legal troubles ranging from domestic violence, marital infidelities, disorderly conduct, and other various less favorable acts potentially initiated by their ego.
Player development from a holistic perspective stresses the need to leave the game on the court, and when the clock expires, the real individual behind the publicized athlete should know what matters most.
Family, Friends, and Community.
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